While PokerStars awaits an igaming license in New Jersey following its acquisition by Amaya Gaming, approval would have a huge impact on existing operators.
Indications are that rubber-stamped acceptance by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement will be forthcoming in due course for PokerStars, resulting in the competition being forced to collectively step up their game. That likely means, among other things, an increase in marketing efforts by existing operators in order to retain or improve their share of the online gambling action.
Industry insiders have long criticized the marketing strategy employed by gaming companies operating in the regulated states. Part of that thinking revolves around the fact that more must be done to attract customers to the online poker and gambling sites.
Revenue numbers have not been as robust as initially anticipated in New Jersey, with less than acceptable marketing efforts part of the reason. While some of the blame certainly must be directed to geolocation problems and player deposit failings due to the hesitancy of credit card companies to push deposits through, the operators are also at fault for perhaps a lack of creativity in promoting their sites.
In that regard, the existing operators in New Jersey will be forced to get on the ball once PokerStars enters the space of regulated online gambling in the Garden State. The industry giant has been exemplary in acquiring and retaining customers, and one would expect that to continue once the welcome mat is extended by New Jersey gaming regulators.
From milestone hand promotions that attract casual players to VIP loyalty programs that reward hardcore grinders, PokerStars has seemingly set the bar high in the category of customer approval. The only knock on the company has been its “bad actor” label for continuing to operate in the U.S. post-UIGEA. But PokerStars will eventually put that status behind them once New Jersey officials give them the greenlight.
PokerStars’ eventual inclusion in the New Jersey market has the potential to actually help the other companies already operating there. The market will be transformed instantaneously and as long as the likes of bwin.party and 888 strive to reach the level of PokerStars, everybody will benefit. That includes players, who will likely gain the most as both competition among operators and available options on where to play will increase.
While some will continue to bemoan PokerStars’ entry in New Jersey, the reality is that the state’s entire igambling scheme will improve considerably. It may also have the effect of prompting other states to take action toward online poker regulation, wanting to partner with New Jersey to increase player liquidity and revenue. The benefits are likely to extend beyond the borders of New Jersey once PokerStars is part of the action.